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Brother Sun, Sister Moon: Saint Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Creatures

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  448 ratings  ·  116 reviews
In Brother Sun, Sister Moon, award-winning author Katherine Paterson reimagines a hymn of praise originally written by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1224. Illuminated with the exquisite illustrations of cut-paper artist Pamela Dalton, this picture book offers a stunningly beautiful tribute to nature.
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Chronicle Books (first published April 29th 2011)
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2012 Mock Caldecott
13th out of 84 books — 182 voters
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Newbery 2012
157th out of 169 books — 692 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 889)
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This is a beautiful picture book that will probably appeal most to religious or spiritual families. Katherine Patterson has "reimagined" St. Francis of Assisi's "Laudes Creturarum" (Praise Song of the Creatures, also known as the Canticle of the Sun) and they are paired with Pamela Dalton's gorgeous water-color painted papercuttings.

I was a bit unsure how I would like a "reimagined" version of a piece by a beloved figure such as Francis of Assisi, but I feel that Patterson adapted it with great
Acclaimed author, Katherine Paterson has reworked a hymn of praise first said by Saint Francis of Assisi. It praises God for our Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and Sister Stars. Brother Wind and Brother Air are praised for being both harsh and mild. Sister Water is thanked for being life-giving and Brother Fire is thanked for both warmth and playfulness. The song of praise moves through Death as well, thanking God for the days we are given and the love that we are ushered into at death. It is a unive ...more
The cut paper art is amazing -- my students absolutely couldn't believe the illustrations were created from one piece of paper. I loved one of our conversations comparing this book to Never Forgotten. I love my students.
I'm not sure about this for public schools, but for public libraries and religious schools it is beautiful. The illustrations and text and whole idea of the book would make for great discussion. Caldecott?
"We praise you for the ones among us who forgive those who have wronged them in the same spirit as you constantly forgive us. And for those who must bear in this life sickness and trial, we ask for the comfort of your everlasting arms."

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

Whose version of this praise hymn is better, St. Francis of Assisi's or the new one written for Brother Sun, Sister Moon by the great Katherine Paterson? That's hard to say. I'm glad that the text of the original version is reproduced a
Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Pamela Dalton is the reimagining of a hymn of praise written by Saint Francis of Assisi.

Using simpler language and imagery, Paterson reimagines this praise hymn to nature beautifully. Each stanza has a double page spread. A translation by Bill Barrett of The Canticles of the Creatures is included, as are notes by Katherine Paterson and Pamela Dalton about working on this project.

The highlight are the intricate, delicate paper cut ill
Cynthia ☮ ❤ ❀
If you are looking for a children's book that is as gorgeous to look at as it is to read then Brother Sun, Sister Moon-Saint Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Creatures re-imagined by Katherine Paterson and illustrated by Pamela Dalton is just such a book. The picture book is one of the most beautiful modern day children's books that I have found to date. The paper cut-outs that are used to illustrate the lovely adaptation or re-imagined Canticle of the Creatures by Saint Francis of Assisi are ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
I'm not Catholic, but I've always had an affinity for the gentle St. Francis, who gave up his life of wealth and privilege in medieval Italy to preach to the poor, taking care of the sick and the needy. He's particularly known for his love of all animals, and his affinity for nature in all its splendor. Renowned children's author Katherine Paterson reimagines his text, The Canticle of the Sun, in this exquisite new picture book illustrated by Pamela Dalton. The text, written in free verse, sings ...more
Brother Sun, Sister Moon is a rewriting by Newbery winner Katherine Paterson of St. Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Creatures. She manages to make it sound like something from the 13th century without using any difficult or outdated words, and it's easy enough to understand. My favorite part: "We praise you for our Brother Wind and every kind of weather, stormy or mild. For when he roars he reminds us of your might, and when he comes as a cooling breeze, he tells us of your gentleness. Prais ...more
I begin this review by stating that I am not now nor have I ever been Roman Catholic. Still, I have quite a soft spot for Saint Francis of Assisi, whom I'm used to seeing in statue forms in gardens. I've read a few of his prayers before, and find them to be the sort of thing I can get behind - a call for respect for all living creatures and peaceful coexistence with our natural world.

It was with complete delight that I opened a package that arrived yesterday from the kind folks at Chronicle Boo
A kidified but still lovely sounding version of the Canticle of the Sun/Canticle of the Creatures, set along side some vivid and gorgeous illustrations with a million little details.

I kind of wish I'd read this in paperback since the images on the Kindle version are tiny - even when looking at them on a full size computer monitor. They really should have used some higher resolution versions.
Bailey Carlson
Brother Sun, Sister Moon was a great book about the Canticle of the creatures. The best part about this book was the illustrations. I really thought it was neat how the illustrator put them onto black paper rather than white because it really made all of the images stand out more than they normally would. Each page was filled with creatures of the earth that were significantly detailed, and the color scheme was excellent. Bright colors were used, within reason, and when talking about the night t ...more
AMAZING illustrations by Pamela Dalton paired with the wonderful Katherine Paterson's prose, BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON is a gorgeous retelling of St Francis' CANTICLE OF THE CREATURES.
I've always been drawn to the humility, no nonsense attitude of St. Francis, and I think Paterson gets that tone spot on too. Her voice shines brightly throughout-harmonizing perfectly with St. Francis.
Pamela Dalton excels at matching Paterson's prose. Her scenes of the earth's & the Almighty's bounty, mystery
Shauna Masura
Brother Sun Sister Moon is a visually stunning introduction to a generous spirituality grounded in history and tradition. The time-honored words of St. Francis of Assisi teach readers to observe the world around them with the admiration and love of siblings and that every phase of life and every kind of person can be viewed through a lens of gratitude. Illustrations, poised gracefully against a black background, turn each page into a galaxy in and of itself. The soulful, folksy paper-cuttings an ...more
Katherine Paterson reimagines St. Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Creatures. Patterson's text pairs beautifully with Pamela Dalton's stunning cut-paper illustrations.

The end of the book includes The Canticle of the Creatures, and notes from the author and illustrator about creating the work.

Pamela Dalton uses a special cut-paper technique known as "Scherenschnitte"(scissor cuts). All of the illustrations in the book were cut from the same piece of paper, and then painted with water colors.
John J Kaweske
The simplicity of living in the word of god. Nothing is greater. This book shows how the Holy Spirit can be active in our lives and we can choose peace and love above all. Let us live in the light and peace and be guided by our father in heaven.
Linda Lipko
Stunningly beautiful illustrations!

What an incredible book, written by two-time Newbery Medal winner for The Bridge over Terabithia and Jacob I Have Loved. Based on St. Francis of Assissi's Canticle of the Creatures, this is a book of purpose, of nature, and of the intertwining of the beauty when nature inspires us and calls us to travel to a different level of consciousness.

The beautiful illustrations are created by the Germanic art of paper cutting into patterns. The Scherenschnitte images are
Jason Penckofer
On a Mock Caldecott roll today, I guess. The text is Saint Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of the Creatures" reimagined by Katherine Paterson and illustrated by Pamela Dalton "...with cut paper and watercolor." Although I'll admit that this is not my sort of poem (either version), I do like that the book presents the original poem at the end of the book for comparison. The illustrations are quite impressive: the paper cutting technique used creates a very particular kind of depth in the illustrati ...more
Sep 13, 2011 Phoebe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lisa and Kezia!
Extraordinary cut paper designs against a dramatic black background. Reminds me of Kate Seredy illustrations for some reason--maybe the red cheeks, the wholesome flavor. The animals are delightful and the many details (the bread, the little moths, the birds hidden in the borders, the lambs, the man wiping his brow...) wonderful! I do like the original canticle better than Paterson's interpretation as it is lovely and flowing, but this version is fine for children who need simpler language and im ...more
We did this to go along with our medieval study, and it was perfect for the time period. The illustrations are beautiful, and there are so many little details! I highly recommend it.
G L Meisner
It was a wonderful update of St Francis' poetic prayer. Including a translation of the original and wonderful illustrations makes this a good book to read and one for every church library.
Interesting new way to see Assisi's prayer. Illustrations are intricate and reminiscent of Middle Age life and art.

-cover already hints at the beauty and complexity inside
-endpapers do as well
-hard to believe this is carefully cut paper
-each spread is frame and gorgeous detail
-black background allows the artwork to stand out
-mirror imaging is perfect
-white night scene is equally beautiful as the full color ones
-movement in play of wind and flow of water
-detail on millo scene is immaculate

A beautiful picture book that translates a prayer of St. Francis to a slightly more modern language, but still keeping the simplicity and beauty of a prayer of thanks for everything that life holds.
The illustrations were really interesting. I was even more intrigued to see they were scherenschnitte - paper cutting! All of the illustrations were one marvelous paper design and then the illustrator painted over them with watercolors. Impressive! The newer rendition of the prayer of Assisi was good as well. While I enjoyed this book and thought it showcased a rather remarkable layer of skill in the design; it's not something I'd see buying or reading over and over. I'd probably still recommend ...more
Another selection for the Mock Caldecott, I had never heard of this book before. It is based on Saint Francis's Canticle of the Creatures written in 1224, and was re-created by author Katherine Paterson (author of Bridge to Terabithia). Although I liked the text, I absolutely loved the cut paper illustrations! Scherenschnitte ("scissor cuts") came from Germany and these intricate designs are done from one continuous piece of paper. My favorites are the illustrations from Sister Moon, Sister Deat ...more
The cut-paper illustrations that have been painted with watercolors add more depth to the already powerful updated version of Saint Francis of Assisi's homage to nature and the wonders of God's creation. This praise song celebrates the light and the dark, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Sister Stars, Brother Wind, and Sister Water, recognizing the gifts that each of these brings to living things. While humans are present on all the pages, interestingly, plants and creatures surround them and are depic ...more
Admittedly, I am not a Christian, though there is respect towards the deities, whatever they're called (or they prefer to be called), but I don't feel you have to be religious in order to show gratitude and appreciation for the wonder that is life. This book provides delightful illustrations for Saint Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Creatures, and it's worth a browse for the pictures alone. The words are part of a beautiful hymn giving thanks and praise for all that is necessary to exist, an ...more
Emily Patterson-Blight
Brother Sun, Sister Moon is a glorious retelling of Saint Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of the Creatures." Rarely does a picture book meld word and illustration so seamlessly; the traditional, simple language of Katherine Paterson's "reimagining" of the prayer is translated into image through Pamela Dalton's quiet, detailed cut-paper spreads. Paterson and Dalton's collaboration is a wonderful testament to God's presence in nature, and it also provides a lovely, clear example of personification f ...more
Katherine Cowley
It's amazing that a poem written almost 1000 years ago can be just slightly modified and work perfectly as a picture book! I've always loved Saint Francis of Assisi, and his canticle of creatures is perfect for children. The metaphors are beautiful, and it takes you not just through the animals, but also through birth and death, as well as the meaning of life. I love the way Katherine Paterson has imagined this for children. And the illustrations have a slight medieval feel to them, which is per ...more
Beautiful in so many ways.
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From author's website:

People are always asking me questions I don't have answers for. One is, "When did you first know that you wanted to become a writer?" The fact is that I never wanted to be a writer, at least not when I was a child, or even a young woman. Today I want very much to be a writer. But when I was ten, I wanted to be either a movie star or a missionary. When I was twenty, I wanted t
More about Katherine Paterson...
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